Forts in Bermuda
These forts although small were quite effective. These were built to defend against possible Spanish attacks.
One very unique thing about all these historic forts in Bermuda is that they were all built using stones instead of timber. During such time, the forts in British North America, and Spanish & French occupied territories were made of wood.
That's the reason why several of these forts have survived the test of time. There was only one fort in Bermuda that was built using timber which caught fire and completely burnt down in 1620.
Most of the forts in Bermuda had supporting infrastructures and homes for the gunners and officers. The first few forts in Bermuda were constructed at the North-Eastern coastline. This was due to the fact that St. George's Town located at the eastern end became the first capital of Bermuda and protections through the natural barrier reefs along the north-eastern coast was inadequate.
Subsequently in late 1600s, there were some small forts built along the south shore as well. However, the defense activities in Bermuda remained quiet for many years subsequently and the need for further fortifications took a backseat. But a flurry of activities began once again when Britain lost all their ports along the Atlantic coastline in 1783 following the American War of Independence.
Since Bermuda was located between the British possession of Canadian maritime in the north and West Indies to the south, the British decided to use Bermuda as the strategic point for their defense in the north-west Atlantic area. Large forts were built along Bermuda's most vulnerable shoreline of north-east. Royal Engineers along with British Army and Royal Navy also built the Royal Naval Dockyard at the western end which was surrounded on three sides by a large fort.
1783 onwards, all the forts were built by the British to defend against possible attacks from the U.S. Some of these forts had to be re-modeled towards the end of 1800s as the nature of artillery changed and new guns were invented.
Gradually over time and after the world wars, the forts in Bermuda started losing their significance. After all, the British and Americans became allies in both the world wars.
U.S assumed the responsibility of protecting Bermuda's coastline during the world wars and moved its army into Bermuda. During the world wars, the most feared enemies were France and Germany.
In 1957, the British troops left the island although the Royal Naval Base and U.S navy operations continued for few more decades. Finally, in 1995 both the British and U.S navy departed leaving behind over 90 forts dotted around Bermuda, 16 of them so small that they are called mini forts. Many of these forts today are major tourist attractions in Bermuda.
St Catherine Fort Bermuda: Located at the north-eastern tip of St. George Island, fort St. Catherine’s historic exhibits & artifacts, and well-preserved interior make it our top choice of forts in Bermuda.
Fort Scaur and Park: Fort Scaur is located on a hilltop at Somerset. The fort was built in the 19th century by the British to defend attacks from Americans.
Fort Hamilton Bermuda: Built in 1870s, Fort Hamilton in Bermuda is located at a picturesque spot in outskirts of Hamilton city overlooking the shoreline and landscaped gardens.
Alexandra Battery: Built in the 1860s at the eastern edge of Bermuda at St. George's, Alexandra's Battery was last manned during the world wars.
Castle Island and nearby forts: Located in Castle Harbor, there are a number of forts of historic importance in Castle Island and in the string of islands close to it.
Whale Bay Fort and Park: The whale Bay Fort in Bermuda is located at the Whale Bay Park of Southampton parish and has a sweeping view of the ocean.
Fort George: A fortification on the north shore built initially in 1612 and later renovated in 1788.
Gates Fort: A small fort built in the 1600s to stop enemy boats to enter from the open sea into the St. George's harbor.
Albert Fort and Victoria Fort: Both these forts are located in St. George's Bermuda in Retreat Hill and were built in mid 1800s to protect the north eastern coastline of Bermuda.
Fort Cunningham: Located in Paget Island in St George's Harbor, Cunningham Fort built in 1875 was a result of several reconstruction of the earlier Paget Fort.
Fort William: This is another eastern fort in Bermuda that was built to protect the Town of St. George's. Fort William was constructed by Bermuda's first Governor Richard Moore.
St David's Battery at Great Head Park: The fort located at the eastern most point in Bermuda at St. David's Island. It has two powerful guns of early 1900s that had a range of 7 miles.
Martello Tower: Located at Ferry Point in St George's, this egg shaped fort was built in 1828 by the British Army.
Burnt Point Fort: Built in 1688 by the British, this fort was used to guard the western entrance of Ferry Reach channel.
Ferry Island Fort: Built originally in the 1790s, the Ferry Island Fort is located offshore on an island called Ferry Island.
Fort Popple at Little Head Park: Built in 1730s at St. David's island, Fort Popple was named after Governor Alured Popple.
Gunpoint Fort: This battery is located in Sandys Parish near Wreck Hill. It once guarded the channel at the western end of Bermuda which was one of the most difficult passages for the ships to navigate through due to the many reefs in the water area. Gunpoint fort was built in the 17th century during the early British settlement days in the island. On one occasion during the American Revolution in 1777, two American ships attacked the fort. After exchange of gun fires, the British soldiers had to initially retreat giving way to the Americans. In about six days, the Americans destroyed the walls of the fort and damaged the guns at the fort. However they had to flee on their own vessels once the local soldiers came back with bigger strengths.
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